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Lola rennt (1998)

Run Lola Run, Lola Runs

The difference between life or death can be decided in a split second.

Directed by:

Tom Tykwer

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 81 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: Germany

‘Run Lola Run’, for the most part, does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s about a girl called Lola (Franka Potente), and she runs a lot. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its share of unsettling moments. For example, there’s the bit where a passer-by offers to sell her his bicycle, and for a horrible second it looks like she might accept. And then there’s the bit where she’s going along a corridor inside the bank, and it becomes more a case of ‘Brisk Walk Lola Brisk Walk’. And sometimes – only sometimes, mind – they substitute actual Lola running for poorly-animated Lola running, and that just isn’t on. Suffice to say, the bits where she’s not running are rubbish, and left me feeling short-changed. Thankfully, they’re few and far between.

So, where’s she running to then? Well, if you show a bit of patience, you’ll see I was just coming to that. At the start of the film, she receives a phone-call from her idiot boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu). He’s been indulging in some dirty-dealings, and is supposed to deliver 100,000 Deutsche Marks to a local crim – only the daft bugger’s gone and left the whole lot on the train, and now it’s been nicked by a homeless. So Lola, instead of doing the sensible thing and making an analogy about making your bed and lying in it, decides to try to find a replacement stash, sprint across town, and give it to her beloved plonker – and all in about 20 minutes.

Girlies, of course, can’t run properly, so it all proves to be quite a task for our Lola. To make things even tougher, the whole thing’s repeated three times over, as writer-director Tom Tykwer attempts to show how the smallest of alterations to events can massively affect the entire outcome. And, as you’d expect from a German film, it’s ruthlessly efficient, squeezing all of that and more into little over 80 minutes.

It’s all too easy to think of Germany as only being about outdated Europop, stable currency and a deep, deep love of David Hasselhoff – but ‘Run Lola Run’ proves that it also possesses the talent to be a breeding ground for innovative, exciting and above-all fun cinema. This might not be the deepest film ever made, but what it boils down to is a good, solid bit of entertainment which also manages to be highly original. That’s got to make it something of a rarity in this day and age.

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It's Got: A diabolical advertisement for the quality of German policing.

It Needs: To dump the animated bits – thankfully, there’s not many of them.

DVD Extras Director and cast commentary, Ms Potente’s own music vid ‘Believe’, talent profiles and a trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 5/10

Alternatives:

City of God, True Romance

Summary

Fun on the run.

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